In my life right now there is much transition. I am transitioning to Tennessee, my school year (and brief return to teaching) is ending, the Christian Education year is ending, and the school year is ending for my children. All at ONCE, funneling to a single point of light sometime at the end of May.
There is another transition that should also be noted. My church here in Delaware is transitioning to a new pastor. The issues involved with this change is not something my children have been aware. My youngest has finally put things together though. She asked me, "Mom, why does Pastor Dave have to leave?" Why indeed?, I think to myself.
It is a Monday morning and I am not ready to try and concretely, politely, and in an age appropriate way tackle this subject. I have not even had my coffee yet. I take an easy way out. "Ministers change jobs, honey. Just like dad did. They need something new and they find a different church."
My daughter ponders this and then says, "Who will be the new pastor?". I take a moment to explain how the church will form a committee and talk about what they want in a pastor. They will search for someone new who can meet the criteria they need.
My daughter looks at me and says,"Oh, sort of like buying a new house? You make a list of all the things you want but you won't get everything on the list? You just try the best you can?"
WHOA....I think. Out of the mouths of babes. When DO you get everything for everyone out of a pastor? Never. Maybe before I leave I can suggest anyone on the search committee watches a lot of Property Virgins on HGTV.
Property Virgins always starts with the young couple walking in a neighborhood they like. The host talks to them about what they want in a house and why they like this particular neighborhood. Then she asks them how much they think these houses cost.
Reality check time. Most of these guys have no idea what their money is going to get them. Their journey begins for what they REALLY want (and can actually get) in a house. Their ideas sometimes change as they search.
Even when people on TV or people like you and me get a house, things change once you are in the house. Maybe something was not quite the way you pictured it, or this room needs to be changed more, or something big breaks that will take a lot of time and energy to fix.
These and other things seem similar in a house search and pastor search. Those initial walk throughs get you excited. Then you have inspections and see a few flaws but you deal with it. As time goes on you grow to accept your new dwelling warts and all or perhaps gently adapt it to suit your needs.
I hope the people in our congregation are willing to be able to see some flaws in a pastor and perhaps even adapt themselves a little. I hope they find healing and growth in their endeavor to find a pastor. Most of all, I hope that this process ends with the church feeling like a new HOME which supports them all.